What are the Latest Changes to PARCC Assessments?

As educators, one of our most important responsibilities is constant assessment of student learning; this includes assessing our own evaluation instruments. We cannot ever assume our assessments perfectly measure every student learning objective, nor can we assume they are always perfectly designed.
PARCC recognizes this responsibility as well and has spent these last few months carefully reviewing the data from field tests last spring. In their effort to do what is best for students, they have issued revisions to their assessments for the 2014-2015 school year.

General Technology Revisions

Although a more detailed “Lessons Learned” report will be issued later in September 2014, PARCC’s most recent post describe some of the general changes being made to the test after reviewing field test feedback.

• Changes to the “Equation Editor” to make it clearer for students and easier to use

• Placement of the ‘Submit’ button will occur only once to avoid confusion

• Stronger validation and verification process to avoid loss of student testing work and data

• More practice will be offered to improve functionality of technology based questions

• Clearer instructions to schools on content filters to avoid problems loading videos.

For more information on the technology revisions, please visit: http://www.parcconline.org/lessons-learned-part-3-technology

Reductions in ELA Testing Content

One of the goals of PARCC is assessing students in the best way possible; this often means fewer questions and/or passages in a streamlined approach. After reviewing teacher feedback and conducting an analysis of the proposed English Language Arts assessment, it became clear that students could still be accurately assessed using fewer questions. So, PARCC has released revised assessment guidelines for the ELA End of Year (EOY) exams.

• In grades 3 – 5, students will have two fewer passages to read, which will result in 13 fewer test questions. Their new testing guidelines will include:

o 1 short literary passage with 5 questions

o 1 long informational passage with 8 questions

o Total: 2 passage sets, 13 items

• In grades 6 – 11, students will have one less passage to read, which will result in 4 fewer test questions. Their new testing guidelines will include:

o 1 short literary passage with 5 questions

o 1 “paired” passage set with 6 questions

o 1 short informational passage with 5 questions

o 1 long informational passage with 6 questions

o Total: 4 passage sets, 22 items

Because of the reduction of testing items, PARCC also anticipates a reduction in time needed for each portion of the test. A deeper analysis of field testing data, including how much time students spent on each task, is currently being conducted. This analysis will offer insight into time required on tests and will enable PARCC to accurately update their testing times.

PARCC Test Practice: Online Resources for Educators

For more information on the ELA test revisions, please visit: https://www.parcconline.org/parcc-states-reduce-no-items-elaliteracy-portion-test

The PARCC testing consortium has already shown a willingness to focus on what is best for students throughout their entire process of creating assessments. This latest evaluation and round of changes is just one more indication they are willing to continue with that philosophy. As indicated by Laura Slover, CEO of PARCC, “The PARCC states are making decisions about test design, including length and testing time, based on thorough review and on the data from the field tests.” Additionally, “the PARCC assessments should contain enough items to accurately measure the breadth of student understanding, but not more items than are necessary.”

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